REMEMBERING: Pidot opened his home, his heart, and his family to us and he became part of our homes, our hearts, and our families

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 June) — Paano ba mag-eulogize sa isang tao na kahit walang apelyido, kahit palayaw lang, ay kilalang-kilala ng iba’t-ibang publiko?

Marami ang hindi nakakaalam ng totoong pangalan niya. Pero malamang alam natin na magkondena ang iyang kalag ug mangasaba siya kung tawagon nato siya og pinabundak nga Wilfredo Alba Villocino. Maong sa metal plate sa iyang urn, mas dako ang Pidot kumpara sa iyang tibuok pangalan.

We have our respective Pidot stories and we should take time to share them. Not just tonight but in more panagtapoks in the future. Dili lang sa panahon sa KBL o matud pa ni Ma’am Luz, kasal, bunyag, ug lubong.

He is known to have promised that he would put on the make-up of friends when they die. Pidot actually clinched my decision to get cremated. His stories of the grabeng libak that he and his clique did at the wake of departed friends whose make-up did not meet his standards scared me into opting for cremation immediately after death and to reject viewing and a wake.

Lisod nang malibakan ta ni Pidot. Balik-balikon baya niya ang istorya and there is no living down of embarrassing moments once Pidot got wind of them.

But Pidot did not laugh at us, he laughed with us. His loud, boisterous laughter is his trademark and an announcement of his presence in any space.

I sometimes thought that he was loud because truth to tell, his hearing was slowly deteriorating—a fact that he was loath to admit. But one would have never known going by how earnestly he listened and how he responded to us. Without doubt, he heard when his family,  friends, community, and country needed him.

Many of us were upset when he chose to volunteer at the community pantry despite his weak immune system and given the raging pandemic.

But really now, if you think about, it was typical of Pidot to find ways of helping and inspiring others in his own unique ways, regardless of the cost to him. All that mattered was that there was another call to serve the people, and he responded the way he had to other calls in the past: with dedication and style.

From his activism as a student of the University of Mindanao to his very short stint in the mountains to being among the victims of Martial Law to participating in cultural performances to hosting many political activities to taking charge of the first LGBTQ desk of the City Government’s IGDD (Integrated Gender and Development Division) to being a key face and voice of ProGay to joining the Ladlad line-up to being at the forefront of One Billion Rising events. Surely, supporting the community pantry in Matina even in his state did not require a stretch of the imagination.

Pidot was a multidimensional person. There may be some here whose connections with him are far from political. He may have styled your hair or your mother’s or did your make-up or recommended an attire for you. And your interactions with him were no less powerful because, chances are, he would have engaged you with the same passion and conviction that he had for his socio-political causes.

He was no saint and we respected him for it. He was known for words and antics that shocked some people. One of his known entrances was to brashly ask “Kinsa’y bayot dinhi kay akong kulatahon?!” followed by laughter. But he wasn’t just simply going for the shock and awe effect. He wanted to jar and shake us from our comfortable notions so we could question the way things were and opt for better and more just situations.

Many of us who felt uncertain with our choices would find comfort in his “choks ra na” or be affirmed by his definitive “bongga!”

Pidot was inspiring and well-accomplished. He finished his communications degree in Ateneo via an equivalency program and pursued  his masters in USEP well in his adult years. He selflessly shared his talents and joined many a libreng gupitan activity. Last year, Pidot was a 60-year old biking around in the middle of the pandemic. He was equally comfortable in protest activities and gala events. He loomed large, loud, glamorous, and beautiful.

While  he was ailing and even in death, he brought people together.  The outpouring of support from different places and timezones is proof of the many and diverse connections and communities that cherish him.

He opened his home, his heart, and his family to us. And he became part of our homes, our hearts, and our families.

We counted on him to help and accompany us through transition events, be it kasal, bunyag, or lubong.

And now, it is our turn to help and accompany him and his family as he goes through another milestone, Pidot-style.

Mahal ka namo, Pidot. Daghang salamat sa imong pagmahal kanamo.

Magpadayon kami sa paghinumdum sa imong maayong mga binuhatan ug among padayunon ang imong mga pakigbisog.

(This eulogy, revised for publication purposes, was delivered during the ‘Pagpupugay,’ an online tribute to Pidot on June 9. Mags Z. Maglana is a Mindanawon who has worked in various capacities for peace, good governance, sustainable development, and the promotion of human rights. Maglana is one of the convenors of Konsyensya Dabaw)

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